Sunday, October 16, 2011

Birth Story

I had a really hard time at the beginning of this pregnancy choosing a midwife.  I really wanted to use the one I used with Afton, but it wasn't a possibility this time.  I found two others that would work, but I just didn't feel comfortable with either of them.  There was no real reason for those feelings, but I couldn't get over them and I was feeling very anxious about the whole thing.  Then, I found out that a group of midwives that had formerly only done hospital births were now doing home births as well.  I was a little nervous about even meeting with them, because they were after all, "hospital midwives" and I didn't have much hope that I'd be able to get the birth that I wanted with them.  I did meet with them though and I was thrilled to find that they had the same ideas about what birth should be that I do.  I was still feeling a little sad that I couldn't use my other midwife, but I felt good about choosing this group.  Actually, I felt more than just good about the decision, I felt like it was right (more on that later).

My pregnancy was uneventful (just the usual all day nausea for about 7 of the nine months).  By 8 months, I had my pool and all my birth supplies ready.  I felt really ready to have the baby and be done with pregnancy.  Then, a week before my due date, I woke up in horrible pain.  It was pain I'd felt before, it was a kidney stone.  I spent hours switching back and forth between the couch with a heating pad and the shower with water as hot as I could stand it but this time the stone didn't pass.  Finally the pain was so unbearable that I had Ben call the midwives to see what I should do.  They had me call their backup OB and he said I should take some of the oxycodone I had left from my last kidney stone and try to wait it out a while longer.  By then, the pain was so bad that I was feeling horribly sick and I couldn't keep the medicine down.  I just absolutely felt like I wanted to die.  I've had three unmedicated births and this pain was so much worse than my most difficult labor.  

I finally ended up going to the midwives office and they started an IV both to rehydrate me and to try to flush the stone out.  They gave me something for the nausea and had me try the oxycodone again.  I still couldn't keep it down so they took me in to the hospital to get some relief.  During all this, one of the doulas who works with them and also works in their office (and also happens to be in our ward) had been calling around trying to find someone who could take the other kids for me.  One of my wonderful friends met Ben in the hospital parking lot and took them home with her for the rest of the day.  At the hospital, I was hooked up to a fetal monitor and given a dose of morphine through the IV.  I felt almost immediate relief.  After that, I was taken down for an ultrasound to see if the stone was visible, but because the baby was in the way, they couldn't tell where it was.

There was nothing they could do about the stone as long as I was still pregnant, and I couldn't keep taking morphine so we discussed inducing the next day if the stone hadn't passed on it's own by then.  I started having contractions on my own that were strong enough to wake me up on and off during the night and the next morning so my midwife checked me and I was three centimeters dilated (the stress from the kidney stone had made me go into labor).  My midwife decided to give me just a little bit of pitocin to speed things up.  Soon after that the anesthesiologist arrived to give me an epidural.  He told me he wasn't sure he'd be able to insert the epidural high enough to block the pain from the kidney stone without having it affect my lungs, but he'd try.  I was so afraid at that point.  Afraid of the epidural and afraid of the kidney pain coming back.  They wouldn't let me have the IV pain medicine during the birth and I couldn't even imagine trying to have a baby with that horrible pain.  Fortunately, the epidural completely took away the kidney pain.  It also took away ALL of the pain of the contractions.  I was having really intense contractions about 3 minutes apart at that point and I didn't feel a single one after the epidural was in.  The insertion wasn't as horrible as I had expected in to be.  I hated not being able to move though.  My legs felt really heavy and I was numb all the way to the middle of my ribs. 

I felt my water break about half an hour after the epidural was in.  In my previous labors, I always felt really terrible pain when that happened and my contractions intensified a lot but this time, I felt it break, but there was no pain and even though I could see on the monitor that the contractions were stronger, I still couldn't feel them at all. 

My midwife checked me again and told me I could start pushing.  Pushing without being able to feel the contractions felt so wrong!  I absolutely hated that!  As I started pushing, the room suddenly filled with doctors and other hospital staff.  I'm not completely sure who they all were, but one of them had a blanket draped over her arms and she was obviously waiting to be handed the baby as soon as it was born.  That really made me uncomfortable.  Right before Hanneke was born though, my midwife told everyone that she would be giving her to me.  She put her on my chest immediately and one of the people protested saying that she needed to take the baby and examine her since I had had the morphine the night before.  My midwife told her she was welcome to come and examine her while I held her, but that she wasn't cutting the cord yet so she couldn't take her.  The doctor looked really irritated, but went ahead and did the examination with me holding her.  She decided the baby was fine and left the room and everyone who had come with her followed.  I was so grateful to have my midwife there to speak up and not allow my newborn to be taken away from me and out of the room.  I was so grateful that I had been prompted to go ahead and meet with the "hospital" midwives even though I had thought there was no chance I would choose them.  I was so grateful to have a midwife with hospital priveleges so I was able to have someone I already had a relationship with there to deliver my baby instead of whatever random OB happened to be on call that day. 

Hanneke was born at 1:38 pm after just 2 hours of real labor.  She weighed 8 lbs 12 oz and was 20.5 inches long.

The rest of my time in the hospital was pretty miserable.  People wouldn't stop asking if I wanted them to take the baby to the nursery for a while I could get some rest.  I couldn't get them to understand that it wasn't the baby that was keeping me up.  It was all the different nurses coming in every few hours through the day and night to check me and check the baby.  I finally asked to be discharged a day early and went home to get some real rest. 

It wasn't the birth I was hoping for, but things went as well as they could considering the circumstances.  The kids all love Hanneke and she fits into our family perfectly.  We're so grateful to have this wonderful little baby.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

4th Of July

We decided to go down to the state park again this year to watch the fireworks over the lake since the kids had so much fun last time.  This year Magnus and Cambria were a little disappointed.  They kept asking me why the fireworks weren't as big as they were last time (they were almost exactly the same and it's a really good display).  Oh well, they all had fun in the water!


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Florida Again

I love that Ben has to go to Florida for work so often.  I especially love it when he has to go during the winter.  It's so nice to get away from the cold and the snow.  It's so nice to be able to take take the kids swimming and let them play outside without all the layers.  This time, we stayed at the J.W. Marriott Great Lakes hotel and it was amazing.  The pool had a lazy river and the kids and I spent hours the first day floating around it. 

Hotel Lobby

We also took the kids to the Disney World Christmas party and had a great time there too.  They had fake snow falling on Main Street as you come it and lots of cookies and hot chocolate and fun Christmas decorations.  Cambria was finally tall enough to ride a few of the bigger rides and she liked some and was totally scared of others.  Magnus got to ride Space Mountain for the first time and he says it's his new favorite ride.  I can't believe how much he loves roller coasters considering how scared he is of a couple of the milder rides.  Afton loved everything and it was so fun to watch her take everything in.


Right After Splash Mountain

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


We saw flyers for football signups all over town at the beginning of summer and decided to sign Magnus up and see if it was something he'd enjoy.  Ben always tells me that he wishes he'd had the chance to play football as a kid so he was especially excited that Magnus was getting the opportunity to start at such a young age.  Football is apparently a really big deal around here.  Seriously, every boy 5 and up seems to be involved.  I wasn't really sure what to expect, but we've had a great experience so far  We have two hour practices two times a week and a game every Saturday.  Magnus loves being part of a team, he loves going to practice (he even begged all day to go when he was really sick and had a fever of 102 degrees).  Magnus really loves playing against other teams and the coaches make sure every kids gets lots of playing time and they all get to try several positions.  Magnus is on a team made up almost entirely of first year players so they haven't won a single game yet, but that doesn't discourage him at all.  He has such a great attitude, he tells me things like, "That team was really good!  If we practice even harder I bet we'll be that good next year!"  and,  "Did you see how close I got to pulling that flag?  I bet if I practice more, I'll be able to get it next time" 

Magnus has really great coaches and really great teammates.  His coaches don't tolerate any nonsense (the team often spends a good portion of each practice doing pushups because they aren't paying attention or they're messing around) but they never make the kids feel bad.  They're very encouraging and I've really noticed a huge difference in Magnus' attitude at home.  He's willing to work harder, he focuses better when we do schoolwork and he has gone from being the biggest complainer I've ever met to rarely having anything negative to say.  Who would have thought that football could do so much for a kid?  I know I didn't expect it!

Team picture

Getting ready to be announced at the first game

First game, I was surprised to see that even the flag teams have cheerleaders

First game

There was a huge rally at the beginning of the season for all the teams from flag to varsity

Magnus and his team at the rally

All the teams and cheerleaders

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Picture Day

Every few months I try to take some pictures of the kids together. It generally doesn't go very well, but I always love the results!

Afton did not want to sit on the couch at first. Then she realized that Cambria was
there too

And she was happy!

I can't believe how big she is now

First attempt with all three

Second attempt

Third try

This is my favorite picture. Cambria and
Magnus were so concerned when Afton started crying

Best friends

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Better Late Than Never

I've been meaning to put up this video of Afton for quite a while, but just never got around to it. She's 8 months old here and has only been walking for 3 or 4 days.


We weren't sure what we were going to do about fireworks this year since the 4th of July was on a Sunday, but Ben found out about a show at the lake near us that was happening on the 2nd. We decided to go and it was great! We went early and the kids had so much fun playing on the nice sandy beach and exploring up and down the shore. The fireworks were pretty impressive, but by the time they started, Cambria and Magnus were pretty tired so they didn't enjoy them as much as I had thought they would. Afton had a nice long nap later in the day than usual though so she was wide awake and loved it so much. She kept pointing and looking up at Ben and I with the cutest surprised expression. Ben and Magnus were able to have a great talk about what the 4th of July means and why we celebrate it.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

We have a walker!

Afton is walking! She's not just taking steps, she's walking! She started just a few days after she turned 8 months. Cambria and Magnus started at 9 months and I thought that was early. So far, Afton has been doing everything earlier than usual; she's an amazing baby.